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AMEC on winning team for national engineering innovation award

30 April 2009

Oakland, Calif. (30 April 2009) AMEC, the international engineering and project management company, was a key member of the team that last week was presented the nation’s top award for engineering innovation for a major earthquake-protection project.

The Claremont Tunnel Seismic Upgrade was chosen from 75 entries by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for its 2009 Charles Pankow Award for Innovation. The award was presented April 23 at ASCE’s Outstanding Projects and Leaders Gala in Washington D.C. AMEC’s role was performed by AMEC Geomatrix of Oakland, Calif.

The project was designed to safeguard the water supply of more than 800,000 people in the Oakland area from a magnitude 7 earthquake. The Claremont Tunnel, built in 1929, crosses the active Hayward Fault as it carries water more than three miles from the Orinda Water Treatment Plant to aqueducts serving all or parts of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda and eight other communities. The winning project involved the construction of a 1,570-foot-long bypass tunnel that runs through the fault and connects to the Claremont Tunnel east and west of the fault zone.

The bypass tunnel’s innovative design included a broadened section through the fault zone that is intended to accommodate up to 8.5 feet of lateral movement. Additionally, a six-foot diameter, three-inch-thick steel pipe was placed where the tunnel intersects the fault as a backup system to allow continued passage of water in the event of tunnel damage.

AMEC Geomatrix characterized the geologic conditions along the bypass tunnel alignment and provided the design team with the geotechnical and earthquake parameters needed to design the bypass tunnel.

During design, AMEC Geomatrix was tasked with evaluating the overall width of the fault zone, estimating fault displacements during the design event, and locating the point where the bypass tunnel crosses the Hayward fault, approximately 150 feet below the ground surface. During construction, AMEC Geomatrix engineering geologists mapped tunnel sections at the critical Hayward fault crossing, identified zones of the main and secondary faulting, and recommended the positioning of the pipeline section where the bypass tunnel intersects the fault.

The project owner is the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Jacobs Associates, a leader in underground engineering, was responsible for the overall design and construction management support. The contractor was Guy F. Atkinson Construction. AMEC’s efforts were led by Principal Engineer Michael Traubenik and Principal Engineering Geologist N. Timothy Hall, Ph.D.

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